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24.02.2006 Health

Techiman holds seminar on bird flu


Techiman, Feb 24, GNA - A two-day workshop on the avian bird flu was held at Techiman in Brong Ahafo for Regional Directors of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and District Veterinary officers. The workshop, attended by 200 participants, was a follow up to a previous one organised for 62 Regional and District veterinary officers in January.

It was aimed at upgrading the location of specific control measures in case of an outbreak of the bird flu at the grass roots level. It was under the auspices of the Veterinary Services Department and jointly sponsored by the Ministry, Food and Agriculture and World Health Organisation.

The participants included veterinarians in the Civil Service, private sector, research institutions, Ghana Armed Forces and Universities.

Dr Mensah Agyen-Frimpong, National Director of Veterinary Services, the risk of bird flu in humans would persist since the world had been warned of this possibility and thus there was the urgent need to prepare adequately to mitigate such future occurrences. He said the arrival of the highly pathogenic H5NI in Africa should be of great concern for the health of both humans and animals, adding the FAO had urged continents to strengthen their capacities for surveillance, detection, control and prevention of the disease. Mr Agyen-Frimponmg said the government, with support from the FAO, had released 2.5 billion cedis to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to be disbursed to its Regional and District Directors and veterinary offices for early detection and prevention of the menace in the country.

Dr Agyen-Frimpong said the veterinary service division of the Ministry, Ghana Health Service, National Disaster Management Organisation, Ghana Police Service and Ghana Private Road Transport Union had been selected to constitute the working group to monitor and expose any possible occurrence of the bird flu in the country. Dr Francis Konadu Ampratwum of the Public Health of the Veterinary Service said the principal purpose of the containment was to prevent the escape of the pathogen from the laboratory to natural poultry and animal population.

Mr. Ernest Akubour Debrah, Minister of Food and Agriculture in a speech read for him said the country was known to have a staging post for migratory birds, some of which were along the coastline with its many water bodies.

The Minister noted that the whole world was taking concrete measures towards the prevention of the spread of the bird flu virus from the migratory birds into the local poultry population and subsequently into the human population.

Nana Owusu Gyare II, Akwamuhene of Techiman Traditional Area who presided, appealed to the authorities to include traditional rulers in the implementation and monitoring of the bird flu. 24 Feb 06